They needed one goal. Just one. In the end they got nothing apart from a 56% ball possession as Villarreal did it with 44% of the ball. That is the typical Arsenal for you. Out and without.
After a 2-1 defeat in Spain last week in what looked like a failed plan to use a false 9 as successfully does his former boss and Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola, Mikel Arteta fielded a lineup that was far much capable of securing a win, led by formidable goal poacher Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who apart from hitting the woodwork did nothing to justify his return to the starting XI.
They did not need to win big; 1-0 would have been enough after Nicholas Pepe dispatched a late penalty away to Villarreal to ease the qualification burden, but probably that was just that. No goal from open play in 180+ minutes across the two legs.
In simple terms, Arsenal are out of the 2020/2021 Europa League after Villarreal held out for a 0-0 draw on a nerve-jangling night at Emirates to reach the finals.
“We are devastated, really disappointed, but we congratulate Villarreal. I think we deserved to win the game but the details define these ties. The way we started in Villarreal wasn’t good enough.” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.
Visiting manager Unai Emery returned to haunt a side that sacked him in 2019, winning 2-1 on aggregate to set up a May 26 final date in Gdansk, Poland with Arsenal rivals Manchester United who edged out Roma 8-5 on aggregate after a 3-2 loss at the Stadio Olimpico. The night in Gdansk will be their biggest in history.
Prior to this, Villarreal had lost their four previous European semifinals, one to Arsenal in the 2005-06 Champions League and had all the reasons to protect their first-leg advantage.
Arsenal now face real danger of missing out on European football next season for the first time in 25 years.
The Gunners are 9th with 49 points from 34 outings, 12 points away from the top four with just four games to play.